I am a fairly regular leader of Carey Nieuwof’s blog on Christian Leadership for a while now. I have found many of the things he has to say, particularly during the pandemic to be rather insightful.
Recently Nieuwof wrote a post he titled, “Five Rather Startling Reasons People Leave Your Church.” I thought I would share those reasons with you but give you my thoughts. If you would like to read his full post, follow this link.
You Cast Too Big a Vision – Really? I have a vision for village in a third world country to have a clean water source that could take care of their water needs for the foreseeable future so I am casting too big a vision. That is not a vision God has given me for Perritte, at least not yet. But, why would such a thing be too big of a vision?
To be involved in something, anything bigger than you, that has the impact to make a real difference in people’s lives for the future? How is that to large of a vision. If anything today, I believe one of the church’s biggest problems is, our visions and dreams are not big enough. We settle for less than the best when God would answer our prayers. We just need to be bold enough to ask, and then act.
You Grew – When I first went to Elwood in 1991 the average worship attendance was about 40. I really don’t know what the population for that little rural community was. I do know that the population for Midway, the closest town was 303. If we got everyone in town to forget about the other five churches in the immediate area, we wouldn’t be a big church.
I said something about needing some focus on evangelism. One member said, “I don’t want this church to grow. I was a member of a big church once and I didn’t like it.” The man had been a member at First United Methodist in Houston at one time. At the time this conversation happened, First Houston was the largest congregation in the denomination. If we got all the people in the area we wouldn’t come close to Houston First. They had (and probably still do) Sunday school classes larger than our church. There was no need for worry.
Still, if you make no effort to grow, you are moving backward. It is easy to take in no new members. It isn’t so easy to avoid losing old members.
You are reaching different people – Again, REALLY? People from different socio-economic groups, people who have a different skin color, people who have been to prison, don’t need Jesus as part of their life? Really?
It is a sad day when the Church of Jesus Christ fails to welcome people. If you encountered a person dying of thirst and you have water to share, would you not share it. If not, we have some huge issues about loving neighbor we need to talk about. Whatever we would do for a person’s body (physical thirst), we need to be prepared to go deeper and address the spiritual needs as well.
You Got Healthier – They obviously have not looked at me at all. Still, you would walk away because a person or an entire church full of people choose to make lifestyle changes to become what God wants them to be? On this one I am all but speechless.
You Finally Moved into that New Facility – This one is the cousin of the “you grew” excuse. I truly believe that over the next 25 years this one will take care of itself. Out of necessity church buildings and facilities are going to change. We aren’t going to need sanctuaries as big but we may need small television studios. Things are going to change. The church is going to have to change the physical (not the spiritual) to meet the needs of a quickly and ever-changing socilety.
I wish I believed Cary Nieuwhof was wrong about these but I don’t think he is. What the church does as ministry is changing rapidly. As people of faith we need to be ready for that change too.
Seeking the Genuine,
Seeking the Genuine,
Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved